GK Update 16th & 17th May 2021

1. China’s First Mars Rover ‘ZhuRong’ Successfully Lands on Mars

  • China successfully achieved the feat of landing its first Mars Rover ‘Zhu Rong’ on the red planet, on May 15, 2021, becoming the only second nation to do so.
  • Till date, only the United States has successfully landed its rover on Mars. All other countries that have tried have either crashed or lost contact soon after reaching the surface.
  • The vehicle used a combination of a protective capsule, a parachute & a rocket platform to make the descent. Zhurong, which means God of Fire, was carried to Mars on the Tianwen-1 orbiter.
  • China’s Mars rover, called Zhurong after an ancient fire god in Chinese mythology, will part ways with the lander by driving down a foldable ramp. Once it has deployed, the rover is expected to spend at least 90 Mars days. 

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • China National Space Administration Founded: 22 April 1993;
  • China National Space Administration Administrator: Zhang Kejian;
  • China National Space Administration Headquarters: Haidian District, Beijing, China.


2. Himachal Government launches ‘Ayush Ghar-Dwar’ program

  • Himachal Government has launched the ‘Ayush Ghar-Dwar’ program to keep the home isolated Covid-19 positive patients healthy by practising Yoga. This program has been started by the Department of AYUSH in collaboration with the Art of Living organisation.
  • Yoga Bharti’s instructors would provide their services in the program. During the launch, about 80 home isolated Covid positive patients from all over the state were also connected virtually.
  • Under the program, approximately 1000 virtual groups on social media platforms like zoom, WhatsApp and Google meet will be formed to connect with COVID positive patients in home isolation. The initiative intends to provide a holistic healthcare approach through AYUSH to ensure not only physical but also mental, social and spiritual wellbeing.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Himachal Pradesh Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya;
  • Himachal Pradesh CM: Jai Ram Thakur.

Appointments News3. Indian-American Neera Tanden appointed as White House senior adviser

  • Indian-American Neera Tanden has been appointed senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden. She is currently the president and CEO of a progressive think-tank, Center for American Progress (CAP).
  • She withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget due to stiff opposition from Republican senators.
  • Ms Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

4. Footwear Brand Bata India appoints Gunjan Shah as new CEO

  • Footwear company Bata India has appointed Gunjan Shah as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • He will join Bata in his new role from 21 June 2021, for a period of five years. Shah replaces Sandeep Kataria, who has been elevated as the Global CEO of Bata Brands in November 2020.
  • Prior to this, Shah was the Chief Commercial Officer (COO) at Britannia Industries. Bata Corporation is a multinational footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer, with its headquarter located in Lausanne, Switzerland and an Indian branch based in Gurugram, Haryana.


5. Andrea Meza crowned 69th Miss Universe 2020

  • Miss Mexico Andrea Meza has been crowned as the 69th Miss Universe 2020. On the other hand, Miss India’s Adline Quadros Castelino made it to the Top 4.
  • Brazil’s Julia Gama is the first runner-up, Peru’s Janick Maceta is the second runner-up while India’s Adline Castelino and Dominican Republic’s Kimberly Perez are third runner-up and fourth runner-up, respectively.
  • This year, the pageant is being held in Miami, Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood. Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa crowns her successor in the event.

6. NBA creates social justice award, named for Abdul-Jabbar

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced the creation of a new award — the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, to recognise players who are making strides in the fight for social justice.
  • Each NBA team will nominate one player for consideration; from there, five finalists will be selected and ultimately one winner. The winning player will receive $100,000 for the charity of his choice.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • NBA Founded: 6 June 1946, New York, United States;
  • NBA Commissioner: Adam Silver;
  • NBA Headquarters: New York, United States.

7. Nagaland conservationist Nuklu Phom gets prestigious Whitley Awards 2021

  • An environmentalist from Nagaland’s remote Longleng district, Nuku Phom has won this year’s Whitley Awards 2021, also known as the Green Oscar. Nuku Phom’s name, along with that of five others, was announced recently in a virtual award ceremony organized by the UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN).
  • Nuku and his team want to offer alternatives that engage communities in conservation using the Amur falcon as a flagship.
  • The award recognises Phom’s efforts at establishing a new biodiversity peace corridor changing the fate of Amur Falcons, which come to roost in Nagaland each year, from being hunted by locals.
  • Worth £40,000, the award is for creating a new network of community-owned forests to protect Amur Falcons and increase biodiversity in Nagaland.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Nagaland: Neiphiu Rio; Governor of Nagaland: R. N. Ravi.


8. Rafael Nadal wins 10th Italian Open title

  • Rafael Nadal beat world number one Novak Djokovic to win a 10th Italian Open title. Second seed Nadal won through 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 in 2hr 49min against the defending champion in the 57th career showdown between the pair.
  • The victory also earned Nadal a 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown, equalling Djokovic’s record since the series was established in 1990.
  • In the women’s category, Polish teenager Iga Swiatek crushed Czech ninth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 to win the Italian Open title. Swiatek, ranked 15, claimed her third WTA title.


9. A book titled “Sikkim: A History of Intrigue and Alliance” released

  • The book “Sikkim: A History of Intrigue and Alliance”, published by HarperCollins India, released on May 16, which is celebrated as Sikkim Day.
  • Former diplomat Preet Mohan Singh Malik combines insights into the unique history of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim with the intriguing story of how it became India”s 22nd state in his new book. 
  • The objective of the book, he says, is to clarify and establish the primacy of strategic issues that lay behind India”s decision to accept the demand that Sikkim is merged with India.
  • Sikkim remains significant from a strategic point of view, given its proximity to Tibet and the crucial Siliguri Corridor that connects India”s northeastern states with the rest of the country.
  • Sikkim also remains an enigma for most, with many misconceptions about its history and its merger with India in 1975. 


10. National Dengue Day: 16 May

  • In India, the National Dengue Day is observed every year on 16 May.
  • The day is an initiative by the Ministry of Healthy and Family Welfare, to raise awareness about dengue and its preventive measures, and preparedness for control of the vector-borne disease before the transmission season begins.
  • Dengue is spread through the bite of the female mosquito (Aedes aegypti).
  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by the dengue virus of four distinct serotypes — DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.
  • Dengue, which is spread by the Aedes albopictus species of mosquitos, can lead to flu-like illness such as severe muscle pain and nausea and can lead to death if not cured properly.

11. International Day of Light celebrated on 16 May

  • The International Day of Light (IDL) is celebrated on 16 May each year to mark the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman.
  • The day celebrates the role that light plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy to help achieve the goals of UNESCO – ‘education, equality, and peace. The message of 2021 International Day of Light is “Trust Science”.
  • The celebration of the International Day of Light will enable various sectors of society worldwide to get indulge in activities that display how science, technology, art and culture can help in achieving the goals of UNESCO i.e. building the foundation for peaceful societies.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • UNESCO headquarters: Paris, France.
  • UNESCO Head: Audrey Azoulay.
  • UNESCO Founded: 16 November 1945.

12. International Day of Living Together in Peace: 16 May

  • The International Day of Living Together in Peace is held on 16th May every year since 2018.
  • The UN General Assembly, declared 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace, as a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity.
  • The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony.
  • The United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate 16th May as the International Day of Living Together in Peace on 8th December 2017.

13. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day: 17 May

  • The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is observed every year on 17 May since 1969, to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • The theme of 2021 is “Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times​”​.
  • The ITU was founded on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.
  • The main objective of the day is to raise global awareness of the changes brought about by the Internet and new technologies in societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • International Telecommunication Union Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland;
  • International Telecommunication Union Founded: 17 May 1865;
  • International Telecommunication Union  Secretary-General: Houlin Zhao.

14. World Hypertension Day: 17 May

  • World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17 May worldwide to promote public awareness of increasing high blood pressure (BP) and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer. The day was held for the first time in May 2005.
  • World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension.
  • The theme for World Hypertension Day 2021 is Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.

15. 6th UN Global Road Safety Week: 17-23 May 2021

  • The 6th UN Global Traffic Safety Week, which this year is celebrated between 17 and 23 May, call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.
  • UN Global Road Safety Week (UNGRSW) is a biennial global road safety campaign hosted by WHO. Each UNGRSW has an advocacy theme.  The theme for the 6th UNGRSW is Streets for Life, under the tagline #Love30.
  • It brings together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations from around the world to raise awareness of road safety and make changes that will reduce the number of road deaths.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • WHO was established on 7 April 1948.
  • WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
  • WHO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WHO current President is Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


16. Famous Mathematician MS Narasimhan Passes Away

  • Noted Indian mathematician, Professor MS Narasimhan has passed away. Professor Narasimhan, along with C. S. Seshadri, were known for their proof of the Narasimhan–Seshadri theorem.
  • He is the only Indian to receive the King Faisal International Prize in the field of science.
  • He was graduated from Loyola College, Chennai, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay Narasimhan had also obtained PhD from Mumbai University.


17. Cyclone Taukate hits many states

  • Cyclone Taukate has obtained its maximum intensity in the wee hours of Sunday and has now become a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (wind speed of 118 to 166 km/hr).
  • The latest cyclone alert issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that this storm would reach close to Gujarat coast, Maharashtra, Goa.
  • Light to moderate intensity rainfall is expected to continue over coastal Karnataka and Kerala till Monday.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • India Meteorological Department Headquarters: Mausam Bhavan, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
  • India Meteorological Department Founded: 1875.




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